The Clipse's Malice talks new CD and new outlook on life
Malice, the elder of the bar-bashing brotherly bunch better known as The Clipse, is beaming from ear to ear. We can totally understand why he's smiling right now. He and his brother, Pusha, are in the most comfy of spots. Their recording situation with Columbia is nice. The Virginia natives are also on the eve of releasing another action-packed CD of street-approved antics and flashy-label braggadocio called Till The Casket Drops.
06:00AM ET September 25, 2009
Contributor: DeMarco Williams
A Rocky Williform Company
"Life is good," confirms Malice, who dropped Hell Hath No Fury with Pusha in late '06 to a critical reception few releases that year received. "Ain't nothing to complain about. Got God. Got my health. We out here. Me and my brother we together on the road, out here doing shows. It's rough out there so things could be a lot worse."
When Mal speaks of his accomplishments, his haters or his outside ventures, he's still all grins. Who can blame him? There's probably nothing anyone can say or do to get the former dope dealers off their natural high. And honestly, HHB is pretty geeked just to be around Malice for some of the contact buzz...
I know you all have been traveling out west lately. What's the vibe in Cali?
Enthusiasm. They're ready for us, every time, every place, every venue we been to. We have dedicated and loyal fans. We‘ve seen a swarm of new fans. Clipse fans are very passionate. It's feeling good out here.
Define these fans for me.
Most of the Clipse fans are hipsters. A lot of the street, a lot of college kids. Definitely our fans are fashion conscious, real fly, serious about their hip hop.
In your eyes, who's serious about their hip hop right now. Who do you respect in the game?
Honestly, I respect anybody who takes what they do and share it with the world and they prepare to be judged, criticized or even praised. To put something that you love or are passionate about and that's real and near and dear to you and have people comment on it takes a strong person. So, I respect anybody who shares their craft with the world.
You all have definitely had your share of criticism over the years. How have you and your brother dealt with it?
It's not a problem. It's really not a problem. We take it well. Reason being is because we're confident in what it is we do. I can even remember when we were shopping for deals with The Neptunes, before [our debut] Lord Willin' came out. When we played our music for people, if they didn't get it or they were uncertain about it, we thought that they were absolutely crazy. It's not like we went back home and started over, ya know, back to the drawing board and tried to do something different. We'd be like, "They were stupid. They didn’t get it." That was very seldom the case. Most of the time people really took to what it was we were doing and saw that we were passionate about it. Basically what I'm saying is, you have to know who you are because, if you don't, criticism will conquer you and toss you around like clothes in a dryer. You gotta stand firm.
Where have you seen the biggest improvements in The Clipse since Lord Willin'?
I think we've become very accustomed to the business side of things, ever since the beginning, especially with all the label setbacks, if you can call them that. I count everything as a plus. Most people call them label setbacks. We learned how to take things upon ourselves and don't just sit back and wait for the label to motivate it or move out, to move with the swiftness that they should or the diligence that they should. Hence, the [We Got It For Cheap] mixtape series. All work that we put out on our off time. We came up with our own [Play Cloths] clothing line that's been very successful. Four seasons with four sellouts! I think we pretty much know to get a move on things and don't wait on the next person, the label, the execs, that don't have the same passion that you may have for your work. You have to do things yourself. I think we're great for that.
So, for the cat out there who's on the recording grind, you'd suggest he go the indie route?
What I would suggest to anybody who wanted to do -not just hip hop or music or whatever- is I would ask them to reevaluate their reasons for wanting to do it. Now if you got a bullshit reason, whether it be to have a fly car and a bunch of hoes, you better know that even if you dope, you're not gonna keep it long. But if you got those that are trying to provide, take care of family and have a good quality of life and maybe even help out somebody along the way, I think you have a very great chance at being successful- if you're good at what you do. That's real, man. As real as I know it.
What makes Pusha special?
He's serious about his business. He's mastered what he does. He will not be outdone, not just on records but not in life. What you see is what you get. Nothing fake.
You guys have famously worked exclusively with The Neptunes over your career. Why are you seeking outside beats this third time?
Yeah, it's a couple other producers on the project. We got DJ Khalil and Chin. They’re known for a few things back with Kanye and 50, if I'm not for certain. I wouldn't quote that one. But definitely you can [quote that] 'cuz I seen all the 50 plaques at his crib. Shawn & LV from American Gangster notoriety [also produce on the album]. Then The Neptunes came in and cleaned up.
What about rumors of Swizz Beatz and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League providing beats?
Nah, they're not on this album.
A question I've always wanted to ask you is about industry beefs. You guys have stayed relatively clear of the drama. How?
It's a testament to who we truly are as people. There's no need to step on anybody’s toes even if you don't' agree with what someone else is doing. We're basically about ourselves. We've got too much real business to even get caught up in the melee of beefing with this person or that person. How do you get in beef with people that you don’t even know? Like, I've never understood that. The Lil Wayne situation was unfortunate, but even that was frivolous. Nothing can ever come out of those things.
What else do you do besides rap?
Just wrote a book entitled Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked. Writing has always been second nature to me. I've always been able to express myself real good and this book is nothing short of phenomenal. The book is about life. It's about things that went on with the Clipse and the industry, and it's a very personal inside look at my personal life and family and how you have to have your head about yourself coming into such an industry like this. I think it'll be very informative to anyone who's pursuing such a career. I'm thinking top on the year after the album. The album is out in October so maybe January. I think it'll be a perfect way to start off the new year.
You said October for the album. So, it's definitely ready?
Album is 100% finished. The work is out of the way. We're good. The sun is out. We're alright.